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Young Goethe in Love(Goethe!)

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Germany

2010

1h 42m

Director Philipp Stölzl

Starring Alexander Fehling, Miriam Stein, Moritz Bleibtreu, Volker Bruch

Genre Romance, Drama

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After aspiring poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe fails his law exams, he's sent to a sleepy provincial court to reform. Instead, he falls for Lotte, a young woman who is promised to another man.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

70

Variety by

As its English-language title indicates, Philipp Stoelzl's yarn is clearly modeled on "Shakespeare in Love." But though it lacks that film's delirious wordplay, this German cousin is well plotted and impressively mounted.
50

The New York Times by A.O. Scott

Mr. Fehling, tumbling from puppy dog eagerness into weepy, inky self-pity, never quite rises to the requirements of the role, which may be hopelessly incoherent in any case.
38

Slant Magazine by Andrew Schenker

What unfolds is a predictably anguished story of true love thwarted by material circumstances, or in the terms dictated by the film, rationality triumphing over romance.
50

Wall Street Journal by John Anderson

Doesn't the reigning genius of the German language deserve his own "Shakespeare in Love"? Sure. But as Goethe scampers about Leipzig, comically failing his doctoral exam, spilling his books and looking bemused, young Johann might as well be auditioning for his own Disney Channel program.
58

The A.V. Club by Keith Phipps

Whatever its basis in fact, there's nothing to Young Goethe In Love's story that dozens of other films haven't done before, and better. But Fehling keeps his Goethe just on the right side of obnoxious, and Stein invests a lot of character and gawky charm into what easily could have been just "the girl."
50

Village Voice by Melissa Anderson

And yet for all of its obtuse choices, there's still something commendable, if daffy, about trying to turn the high holy father of German literature into a rock star.

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